Swickard: Accessing truth is the problem

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. The first victim of the Information Age is truth. Specifically, it is having access to the truth because there is so much false clutter that no one can be sure the media or Internet is really true.
     Often truth has been hijacked for political or anarchist reasons. There are hundreds of false reports each day that make it into the media. These false reports are either called out or assimilated into the culture of our society. Often they live as slogans, “Bush lied and people died.” Or, “America did not land on the Moon.”
     It is now possible to “prove” or “disprove” any fact or theory. There is probably a blog chronicling that Elvis is alive and playing golf with Michael Jackson who is also alive. If not, wait a minute, it will be up shortly.
     My first connection to a wider world was in 1988 when I was a tester for Prodigy while living in California. At first it was opinions and advisories and in the 1990s it changed to data repositories.
     In 1992 I was using email at NMSU such that I was on a project with a women in Jamaica and a man in New Zealand. We never met face to face but worked a year together. The data we sent back and forth stayed true on the worksheets and it was great.
     Certainly I was aware in 1998 of the Y2K scare which came from the Internet to the media and back. Now it seems mildly humorous that so many people believed that life on this planet was going to end due to a programming problem when the clock strikes the year 2000.
     Well, not everyone was freaked out and worried including myself, but the media played the concern to the hilt. People started stocking up on food, water and generators. However, I did not stock up or hoard above my normal two weeks or so of stuff.
      In 1999 I wrote a column asking: how were these hoarders going to deal with their neighbors when they have the only warm house in the neighborhood? It was going to get ugly, especially when the lights came back on. Neighbors will have long memories of you shoving a gun in the faces and telling them to scram. Read full column